14 Different Types of Ferns Houseplants

It can be tough to choose the fern houseplants that are best for you. Houseplants are a cost-effective way of adding a pop of color to any room.

Plus, they are good for your health and make you feel better. We’ve prepared a list of the best ferns that will spruce up your indoor spaces. Let’s take a look at them together!

Different Types of Ferns Houseplants

Here is the list of 14 different types of fern houseplants.

Lady Fern

This attractive fern is known for its unique shade of leaves that look surreal. It’s as if the plant isn’t from earth but a different planet entirely.

It has an extraterrestrial quality to it. However, its leaves are bright green with a lacy appearance. The midribs have a reddish tinge that adds to its visual impact.

Lady ferns can grow up to 3’ in length and 1’ wide. These plants thrive in swamps and shaded woodlands. This means you will have to provide them with plenty of shade.

Make sure to keep them out of direct sunlight, especially in the afternoons. These ferns are ideal for growing in minimalist indoor gardens.

They can also take center stage or be used as undergrowth for roses and shrubs. Lady ferns are hardy and can be planted by beginners.

The soil needs to be well-drained and kept in a humid environment.

Himalayan maidenhair fern

It’s no wonder these houseplants are popular among growers: they are almost impossible to kill. The Himalayan maidenhair ferns will forgive you if you forget to water them.

They take a visually striking shape with small, fan-shaped fronds. They grow best from late winter through spring.

Their color ranges from tinges of dark green to orange as the seasons change. They grow only about one foot high.

The ferns are spread with the help of creeping rhizomes that form a thriving colony. This quality makes them ideal for underplanting and shade gardens.

Note: These plants are vulnerable to strong gusts of winds. This is why they are best grown in indoor gardens with other houseplants in California.

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Hart’s Tongue Fern

This quirky evergreen fern has arching,  strap-shaped leaves with wavy edges and a pointed tip. The undersides have distinctive brown stripes with dark-green, almost glossy leaves.

They have the most striking appearance with rosette-like fronds. It got its name because onlookers think it looks like the tongue of a deer.

Its undersides have little marks that look like the leg of a centipede. This leads to the name ‘scolopendrium’, the Latin name for centipede.

Hart’s Tongue Fern is also very resilient and grows in most conditions. It thrives in the summer and winter months.

Hart’s Tongue Fern prefers to grow in well-draining, humus-rich soil. Make sure to provide it with three hours of indirect sunlight.

Boston Fern

Long the reigning king of indoor ferns, the attractive Boston Fern is easy to care for. Its fronds grow up to three feet tall and are adorned with sword-shaped frills.

The key to successfully growing Boston ferns is to provide them with slightly moist soil. Make sure the soil is not too soggy.

This requires weekly watering for indoor Boston Ferns and frequent watering when grown outside.

Testing the soil with your hand can help you design an optimum schedule. The foliage may quickly drop if the soil dries out.

Reduce watering frequency to once every week during the fall and winter months. But don’t allow the fronds to dry out during this period.

This makes the Boston fern slightly difficult to care for. It is common to display them in hanging baskets to allow their leaves to hang. You can place them in bathrooms when the humidity is very high.

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Staghorn Fern

This dramatic-looking fern loves bright but indirect sunlight. They are one of the easiest plants to grow, which accounts for their popularity.

The Staghorn Fern is tough as nails. They are epiphytes, which means they can grow on other trees and plants.

They are usually mounted on wood and other places. You can buy them mounted on different structures, which is definitely recommended!

They produce two different types of leaves. The first is an antler-shaped frond that they are widely known for. The second is the shield-like fronds jutting out of the crooks of trees.

You have to be very careful when watering staghorn ferns. They should be watered once the upright ferns look slightly wilted.

Note that their roots are incredibly small and susceptible to overwatering. This makes them vulnerable to root rot and can harm the plant.

Keep an eye out for black or brown spots at the base of the fronds. These colors indicate overwatering.

Their long lifespan is a key reason why most people use them as family heirlooms.

Maidenhair Fern

Extremely easy to look after, these delicate ferns are very tolerant and forgiving. Pairs of tiny palm-shaped fronds with three to eight fingers adorn the plant.

They have stunning black stems with fronds that divide into blades called spinnae. The shiny and glossy leaves have a dark-green color. The fronds often resemble insects with wings.

They do not grow upright or at an arch. Instead, the fronds prefer to row more horizontally. They look attractive when growing from walls and hanging baskets

The Maidenhair Fern can grow up to 2’ tall with new leaves unfurling every April. They are happy in most indoor environments, just avoid direct sun or draughts.

They are a thirsty species and prefer moist soil. It is recommended to Maidenhair fern every day. Always check the soil daily to ensure it’s moist and not dry.

Want to give it an occasional growth spurt? Mist the ferns in the morning and evening every now and then.

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Maidenhair Spleenwort

The Maidenhair fern features light green compound leaves with delicate foliage on brownish-black stems. They can grow on rocks, branches, and old walls in the wild.

The fern is ideal for gardens because of its evergreen fronds clustering around the base. Each frond reaches a span of 2’.

Although Maidenhair Spleenwort prefers to grow in humus-rich soil, they also grow in heavier soils. Just make sure the soil is well drained and moist with a neutral pH value

You can grow the tiny but adorable ferns in borders and beds or under shrubs and roses.

Lemon Button Fern

This wonderful fern has tiny golden fronds attached to its stems. They grow in arches and reach a height of about one feet.

The name lemon comes from its golden green hue and citrus scent when crushed. the button comes from the adorable round fronds that are unique for a fern.

It may give off a citrus scent during its growth phase. In the wild, Lemon Button ferns are lined with sprawling green leaves shaped like buttons.

The care instructions for Lemon Button Ferns are relatively benign. They prefer bright, indirect sunlight. The air should not be too dry – consider investing in a humidifier.

Like most ferns, the Lemon Button is highly susceptible to strong gusts of winds. Keep them indoors to protect them from strong winds.

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Crocodile Fern

Crocodile ferns look exotic and grow reliably under the proper conditions. They are named because their leaves resemble the leathery appearance of crocodile skin.

The light green leaves are adorned with dark green veins. Tough and extremely drought tolerant, the Crocodile Fern is popular among new gardeners.

Like the staghorn, Crocodile ferns are an epiphyte and can be mounted on objects. However, Crocodile ferns can easily grow in a pot.

Keep the soil moist and water it consistently and frequently. Water the plant once you notice the topsoil getting dry.

Continue watering until water drains out of the bottom of the soil. Careful not to overwater the crocodile fern!

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Japanese Painted Fern

Japanese-painted ferns have silvery fronds with deep red stems and a touch of blue. They can reach heights of up to 2’ with an equal width.

The fronds tend to grow in an arch-like direction. Sometimes they may produce purplish midribs with variegated leaves.

Caring for the Japanese Painted Fern requires patience because they take their time to grow. The plant will add 12 inches annually to its size, spreading slowly through rhizomes.

Caring for the ferns is straightforward. They tolerate acidic soil and deep shade. These are two conditions that most plants are not fond of.

A few things to note:

  • Always protect the colorful fronds from exposure to harsh afternoon sunlight. This type of exposure could damage them severely.
  • Add peat moss and natural fertilizer into the soil to feed your Japanese-painted fern.
  • The soil requires extremely good drainage. Wet soil conditions will easily lead to root rot and diseases.

It is not necessary to prune these plants while they are dormant. However, trimming away dead fronds is a good choice during the growth season.

Autumn Fern

The brilliant Autumn fern provides color and texture to any indoor environment. They grow throughout the year.

They produce distinctive orange-hued fronds in spring that take on a brown shade in fall. Their dazzling fall-like colors persist for several weeks.

Autumn Ferns are often planted in the shade and mix well with other foliage plants. They are suitable for smaller spaces because they don’t spread much from their rhizomes.

Some gardeners use them for groundcover for woodland gardens. However, because of their small size, autumn ferns can be grown in containers as houseplants.

Make sure to plant them in a shady location away from direct sunlight. The harsh afternoon sunlight can lead to sunburn and kill the plant.

The soil should mimic the fern’s native woodland habitat with a pH below 6.0. Add lots of organic matter in the soil.

Like most container plants, potted autumn ferns require frequent watering several times a week. Make sure that the container is consistently moist with good drainage.

Provide Autumn Ferns with an all-purpose fertilizer in the spring months. All in all, autumn ferns are easy to care for.

Alpine Wood Fern

Alpine Wood Ferns are a hardy plant hailing from the Himalayas. Their upright stems grow up to 35″ and are adorned with bright green fronds.

They grow in bulky clusters, much like a shuttlecock. This creates a dramatic look in indoor gardens.

The fronds turn bright yellow, and the midribs take on a black-brown color. Their foliage is highly resistant to winter frost. After all, they are native to the Himalayas in China and India.

This allows them to be planted in outdoor environments. Their foliage turns bright green in the harsh winter months.       

Fully grown alpine wood ferns can produce nearly 60 fronds. They grow best in full shade with moist soil.

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Bird’s Nest Fern

The Bird’s Nest Fern has all the hallmarks of an exotic plant. It can turn your indoor garden into a tropical paradise.

Thanks to their elegant lance-shaped fronds, these ferns have exploded in popularity as small houseplants.

They grow large simple fronds that resemble banana leaves. The fronds are often crinkled and spread outwards from a central rosette, resembling bird’s eggs. Hence, the name.

 Their thick, glossy leaves don’t require much in terms of maintenance. The ferns thrive in bright indirect light but will tolerate low indirect light.

They require watering every once a week. Just make sure to allow the soil to dry halfway between waterings.

Increase the frequency of watering if the plant is kept in brighter light. It is strongly advised to water around the fern instead of the center.

Bird’s Nest Fern can grow upto 2’ tall when provided with the ideal growth conditions.

Kangaroo Fern

Native to Australia, this fern can live for up to five years. It produces bright, glossy leaves with very dark shades of green.

The leaves are spread out into some 20 tongue-like parts that make them look exotic. This fern will hold its own next to showy plants with colorful foliage.

It is strongly suggested to keep the ferns in moist soil. Feed it with houseplant fertilizer once per month in the spring and summer months.

Reduce the watering frequency during the fall and winter months. This is when the plant becomes more dormant. It is best to avoid fertilizing the plant when it’s dormant.

The Kangaroo fern is bound to make any indoor environment look elegant.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it, a look at popular indoor ferns that make excellent houseplants. They are exotic in appearance, easy to grow, and very hardy.

Make sure to adhere to their basic care requirements, and you won’t encounter difficulties. Ferns are great for gardeners of all skill levels. So which ferns do you plan on using in your indoor garden?

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